Salam Nabulsi is a 30-year-old refugee from Daraa, Syria. She is a very energic and positive person and speaks fluent Turkish. She met her husband while studying geology at Damascus University and got married. She fled Syria in 2016 before she was able to graduate from the university.
During her journey from Syria to Turkey, they had their newborn child. Afterwards, they arrived in Sanliurfa, Turkey, and started their new life there. “We had to start from zero,” she says. Job opportunities in Sanliurfa were limited, so they decided to move to Istanbul. Soon, her husband found a job as a restaurant chef and she worked with him as an assistant. “We didn’t have any family members here to help us, yet we tried to manage our life,” Salam says. After having another child, she could not continue working in the restaurant due to the long hours required there.
Most Syrian women face challenges while trying to find decent job opportunities and taking care of their kids at the same time. Salam thought of working as a teacher since it does not require long hours. Despite her previous teaching experience in Syria, she could not find any jobs. She could only tutor children in her neighborhood which provided an unstable income. Meanwhile, her husband faced many challenges in different workplaces, such as not receiving his salary or being compensated for less than initially agreed on.
With funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through KFW-German Development Bank and in cooperation with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), United Work conducts job placement by matching employers and job-seekers. The project helps people from refugee and host communities to find jobs and provides support in obtaining work permits for refugees so all people of concern can equally access opportunities in the job market.
“We heard that United Work helps Syrians under Temporary Protection match with employers, so we sent our resumes to United Work. They called me for this job in less than a month since I am skilled and have two kids,” she said.
After an interview with a store manager, she was selected to be a sales representative at a store in Sabiha Gökçen Airport. “I like this job a lot because of the shorter working hours and flexible work conditions. I can take care of my children,” she said. “I like that I have a work permit and social security insurance. They would protect my rights as an employee.”
” The project was a great opportunity for us,” she says, “To sign up for the program, you just need to contact United Work and explain your skills and qualifications during the application process. They try to find you the job that best fits your experience and skills. I totally recommend everyone to contact United Work and sign up so they can find decent jobs.”
Salam feels happy and stable, but she is not going to be the last beneficiary as there are still many skilled Syrian and Turkish people who face challenges in getting formal jobs.